Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin said on Thursday (27/04) the International Seminar on Women Ulama succeeded in revitalizing the role of female clerics in the Muslim world and reinforced the importance of practicing moderate Islam.
Lukman praised the congress for its groundbreaking agenda, saying the event succeeded in efforts to combat injustice in gender relationships within the Muslim community.
The National Congress on Women’s Ulama in Indonesia (KUPI) organized the seminar in Cirebon, West Java, on April 25-27. The meeting focused on amplifying the voices of female Muslim clerics to assert positive values of Islam, nationhood and humanity.
KUPI works to draw greater public attention to the abilities of female clerics in solving issues facing the Muslim community in Indonesia, local news outlet Tempo reported.
On Thursday, participating female clerics declared a series of fatwas, including one against child marriage in the country.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), one in six girls in Indonesia are married before turning 18. Representatives at this week’s congress urged the Indonesian government to raise the minimum age for marriage from 16 to 18.
“I will take this recommendation to the government,” Lukman said.
The congress also issued other fatwas forbidding willful environmental destruction and sexual violence.
Reuters reported that the event was attended by nearly 300 participants, with delegates from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Malaysia, among others. Event organizers said the three-day conference was the first of its kind in the world.
The international seminar was co-organized by KUPI, the Institute of Islamic Studies (IAIN) Syekh Nurjati Cirebon and AMAN Indonesia.